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Compound eyes of the small white butterfly Pieris rapae have three distinct classes of red photoreceptors

Blake, A. J., Pirih, P., Qiu, X., Arikawa, K. & Gries, G., Aug-2019, In : Journal of comparative physiology a-Neuroethology sensory neural and behavioral physiology. 205, 4, p. 553-565 13 p.

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  • Compound eyes of the small white butterfly Pieris rapae have three distinct classes of red photoreceptors

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DOI

  • Adam J. Blake
  • Primoz Pirih
  • Xudong Qiu
  • Kentaro Arikawa
  • Gerhard Gries

The two subspecies of the small white butterfly, the European Pieris rapae rapae and the Asian P. r. crucivora, differ in wing colouration. Under ultraviolet light, the wings of both male and female P. r. rapae appear dark, whereas the wings of male P. r. crucivora are dark and those of females are bright. It has been hypothesized that these sexually dimorphic wing reflections in P. r. crucivora may have induced the evolution of a fluorescing-screening pigment in the violet-opsin-expressing photoreceptors of males, thus facilitating greater wavelength discrimination near 400nm. Comparing the compound eyes of the two subspecies using genetic, microscopical, spectrographic, and histological methods revealed no differences that would meaningfully affect photoreceptor sensitivity, suggesting that the fluorescing-screening pigment did not evolve in response to sexually dimorphic wing reflections. Our investigation further revealed that (i) the peri-rhabdomal reddish-screening pigments differ among the three ommatidial types; (ii) each of the ommatidial types exhibits a unique class of red photoreceptor with a distinct spectral peak; and (iii) the blue, green, and red photoreceptors of P. rapae exhibit a polarization sensitivity >2, with red photoreceptors allowing for a two-channel opponency form of polarization sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-565
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of comparative physiology a-Neuroethology sensory neural and behavioral physiology
Volume205
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2019

    Keywords

  • Spectral sensitivity, Polarization sensitivity, Fluorescence, Pigments, Phylogeny, RECEPTOR, GREEN, HETEROGENEITY, LOCALIZATION, SENSITIVITY, OMMATIDIA, CHOICES, VISION

ID: 118428789